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Why We Love Craftsman Style Homes

Updated on March 1, 2014
Traditional California Craftsman
Traditional California Craftsman

History of the Craftsman Style

The craftsman style home was highly influenced by the design work of 2 brothers, Charles and Henry Green. Green and Green as they were known practiced architectural design together in Pasadena California from 1893 until 1914 and it was in 1903 that they began to create their simple craftsman bungalow style home designs.

At about the same time another designer, Gustav Stickley was sharing his versions of the craftsman style in his popular magazine "The Craftsman" Be sure and check out his book on craftsman homes. The early craftsman design style became so popular that up until the end of the 1920s is was the most popular home design style in the country.

I am fortunate to live in a quiet little town on the banks of the mighty Mississippi river where over 60 percent of the existing homes that line our streets are of the original craftsman styles. This was due to the fact that in the early 1900s our area had a surge in factory growth and the craftsman style home with all it's charm and attention to details was still an easy home to build for the average family.

During this time a person could already buy a magazine or book with plans to create the details found in a craftsman home and you could even buy pre-cut wood package kits to build your own home. Just a couple more reasons why this was the most popular small home style of the time in the entire country.

8 Styles of Craftsman Homes

Let's talk a little bit about the eight most popular original craftsman home styles. This is one common misconception that many people don't realize how many different home styles are considered to fall under the craftsman style label.

The Bungalow Home Bungalow style homes feature a low pitched front facing gable roof design and are typically deeper than they are wide. The bungalow house will have a full width front porch and can also feature wide tapered craftsman columns.

Cottage Style Craftsman Home The cottage style was a smaller single story design often created in a rectangular fashion. This style featured a central entry and symmetrical balance of exterior windows and other features.

Clipped-Gable Craftsman Home The clipped gable style used a gable roof that featured a clipped gable which was formed to create what appeared like a small hip roof on the front. Another common feature of this style was to insert an eyebrow style dormer for attic ventilation. We have included a picture of a clipped-gable craftsman for reference.

Colonial Craftsman Home Looking for colonial revival features? Then the colonial craftsman might be right for you. This style features a wide front porch with round wooden columns for support. It also features the same symmetrical balance common to other craftsman designs.

Aeroplane Craftsman Home The aeroplane craftsman has a unique side second story that is set back from the main front porch area. This low pitched gable roof over the front porch will give the appearance of aeroplane wings.

Multi-Family Craftsman Home When the early craftsman homes were first being built it was common to build homes that would house more than one family. A multi-family craftsman home could have been built as a craftsman duplex or multiplex, or a building called a bungalow court. The bungalow court was typically a "U" shaped design that was often a 2 story plan, it would house a site manager as well as other occupants.

Eclectic Influenced Craftsman Home The eclectic influenced craftsman shows details from other cultures. These styles may have oriental or Scandinavian influences as well as colonial or Tudor styles.

Transitional Style Home The craftsman era was beginning as the Victorian era was ending and so it was common to see homes that included a blending of these two features. The home would feature more of the Victorian style features like steep pitched roofs and taller thin windows but would include some of the more modern craftsman features.

Aeroplane Craftsman Home
Aeroplane Craftsman Home
Bungalow Craftsman Home
Bungalow Craftsman Home
Clipped Gable Craftsman Home
Clipped Gable Craftsman Home
Cottage Craftsman Style Home
Cottage Craftsman Style Home
Eclectic Style Craftsman Home
Eclectic Style Craftsman Home
Multi-Family Craftsman Home
Multi-Family Craftsman Home

Craftsman Home Styles

Do you have a favorite craftsman home style?

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Common Craftsman Home Features

Craftsman Home Roof Details

Here is a list of the most common roof styles used in craftsman home construction.

  • Front Gable Roof
  • Cross Gable Roof
  • Side Gable Roof
  • Clipped Gable Roof
  • Hipped Roof

Craftsman Home Exterior Finishes

This list will cover the most popular materials used for the exterior of early craftsman style homes.

  • Horizontal Wood Siding
  • Wood Shingle Siding
  • Cement Stucco Finish
  • Stone Native To The Area

Craftsman Style Doors

Original craftsman style homes were built using native materials so it was common to find wooden doors made of native materials and the style was based on options available to build the door. Common styles include:

  • Batten Style Doors
  • Panel Style Doors
  • Flush Style Doors

Craftsman Style Windows

In craftsman style homes you will find window units defined as primary and secondary units. A primary window was a main window on the home where secondary units were added for decoration or to provide ventilation. Common styles used include:

  • Double-Hung Windows
  • Single-Hung Windows
  • Slider Windows
  • Hopper Windows
  • Awning Windows

Craftsman Style Exterior Features

Here is a rundown of common craftsman home exterior features. Here we will list common terms used in exterior porch supports, roof dormers, and decorative features.


  • Tapered Wooden Columns
  • Tapered Stucco Columns
  • Tapered Stone Columns
  • Wooden Posts

Craftsman Dormers

  • Gable Dormers
  • Shed Dormers
  • Eyebrow Dormers
  • Clipped Gable Dormers

Craftsman Decorative Features

  • Triangle Knee Brace Supports
  • Exposed Decorative Rafters
  • Stickwork

Where To Learn More

We are in love with the craftsman style home and hope that by now you are too. If you would like to learn more about Craftsman Style Homes then we encourage you to visit our site of the same name. If you are considering building a new home then check out Craftsman Style Home Plans.

Tell Us About Your Craftsman Home Experiences

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    • profile image

      Eslam 2 years ago

      So glad to have amazing pgtoohraphers like you guys nearby. These photos represent so many firsts for me first time mama, first home, first family photo session. All I wanted was real pictures of us and now I have them and they're awesome THANK YOU. I already want more!

    • Designer Jim profile image

      Jim Patrick 4 years ago from Fort Madison, IA, USA

      I appreciate your concerns regarding the durability of the modern products we are using to build with. I'm in a rather unique position in that I have spent the last 35 years designing and overseeing construction of these homes in the rather harsh Iowa climate...over 36" of snow and ice so far this winter.

      You bring up a very valid concern but the concern should be placed on proper installation and maintenance practices. If installed correctly many of the cultured stone products made today carry 30 to 50 year warranties. There are very strick installation guidelines that need to be followed and it is common practice to reseal mortar lines on new stone just like should be done on older native stone and brickwork.

      We are so fortunate to be building in a time with polymer shakes and synthetic wood look sidings that will never wear out and that require very little maintenance.

      As I mentioned in the article I personally live in a community filled with original craftsman homes which are all in different levels of condition. These homes have survived the Iowa winters for over 100 years. Those that received proper care look wonderful. We are actually undertaking a practice called infill where when a home is taken down in an old neighborhood its replacement is a modern craftsman style home.

    • pctechgo profile image

      pctechgo 4 years ago from US

      I am referring specifically to the Traditional California Craftsman in the first image.I have seen an increase of this style in my area. I do like it but also see the potential for much added home maintenance.

      I appreciate buildings built with stone, concrete, or rock but I suspect the modern Craftsman home may not endure as well as the originals. This is the case for many things however but when I see one of these homes I also picture how that brick and rock will look with ten years or more on it. In some areas, depending on climate and whether, less than ten years will cause discoloration, fading, chipping, breaking. etc. .

      Just guessing here but because there are so many places for water to retain there's going to be heavy moss built-up and cracking or loosening of the bricks due to freezing and thawing. I enjoy and admire the look but would fear the constant chasing of loose, broken, or falling-out of the rocks that make up the look. The style might be better suited for California's climate rather than that of more northern regions that see more fluctuation in temperatures, an increase of elements that would deteriorate the appearance and more importantly the stability of the Crafted stone look.

      Perhaps they are made with materials that can better endure harsh zones and the joining materials as well may be of appropriate quality and type.


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